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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Mark May. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark May. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Connor Ray Music artist: Mark May - Blues Heaven - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (May 20, 2016), Blues Heaven, from Mark May and it's quite entertaining. Opening with Boom Boom, comes out kicking and with his guitar screaming. With a cool bass riff by Tim Keefe and a stiff snare drum rhythm, this track is off and running. May handles lead guitar and vocal duties. With it's soaring guitar lead and backing horn work by Ted "Teddy Boom" Basinger on trombone, John "Johnny B" Bonham on trumpet and Joe "Smokin' Joe" Reasoner on sax, this track is a hot opener. Sassy blues number, Money, sets up really nicely with solid bass line, supporting horns and and tight drums giving May space to lay out some really grinding guitar solo lines. Very nice! Two stepper, She's A Keeper, has country rock styling blended with a Louisiana flavor. Greg Martin slips in with some real nice slide work warming up the track. Title track, Blues Heaven is a simple ballad with a sweet melody. Matt Mees has the drums on this track and John Popovich on B3 adds nice texture. Some of May's nicest vocals on the release are on this track blending nicely with sax work by Eric Demmer. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Put Down That Poison with Ed Durante on rhythm guitar and Steve Krase on harp. May gives his picking a little country flair and Reasoner adds some really rich bari sax worh making this track a real standout. Shuffle track, Leaving Houston, has a smooth groove with May really settling on on vocal and guitar. Low octave baritone guitar work punched by the horn section is particularly effective on this track. Very nice! Boomerang has a straight line rhythm with an underlying funk thanks to May's guitar work and that of the horns. Trumpet work by Bonham gives the track a distinct Spanish flavor and May's wrapping guitar is quite nice! I'm Her Fool is a straight up blues rocker with some pretty cool lead slide by May. Gary Jorgenson is solid on drums and Steve Krase steps up the ante with flavorful harp work. Breaking into a gospel revival tempo, the track runs hard giving Popovich and Krase the space to show the heat. Gulf Coast Woman has a heaving driving bass line and May steps up the guitar lead with just a touch of Billy G. style. Funky horn track, All I Ever Do develops a real nice groove with funky horn work by Basinger, Bonham and Reasoner and a nice bass line from Keefe. With a super dance beat and fluid guitar runs by Hadden Sayers, this is a real cool track. Shuffle track, Garden of Truth, has solid radio appeal and a nice hook. Eric Demmer is back with a hot sax solo and May's guitar lead is crisp and clean. Kind of Girl is a real cool track with slick lead and slide guitar work by May and a funky bass line. Certainly one of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is Almost Like Suicide, a light funky bluesy track with a modern vocal delivery style. Mees is back on drums on this track and Popovich's piano work is really nice. May lays down some Spanish influenced guitar riffs making this a real nice closer for a solid release.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blue Monday - Mark May

Born Mark Thomas May, September 29, 1961, in Colombus, Ohio, Mark started to play guitar at the age of five. From a musical family, Mark was exposed to many different styles of music. His mother's love was Bluegrass and Country music. His brother, Ken, was into Rock and played with Craig Fuller, who formed Pure Prairie League, and wrote the song "Amy". At the age of 14 or15, Mark began playing with various bands and had his first professional club date around the age of 15 or 16. Mark moved to Houston in 1982 and played in numerous country bands in the Houston area. Numerous rock bands followed which allowed Mark to further express his talents as a guitarist. Blues-oriented music has always been an interest to Mark. One of his earliest influences was Hendrix. When Mark started to host the Monday Night Jam at The Crew Quarters in Seabrook, his love for the blues really took hold. Not only were the crowds responsive to the Blues, but Mark never felt more at home, both musically and vocally. A friend turned Mark onto the music of Blues legend Albert Collins and that influence made a profound affect on him. Soon after, Mark put together his first real blues/rock band. Original members included "Fretless" Dan Cooper (bass/vocals), Danny Goza (drums), and Eric Dimmer(sax), who has sinced moved on to play for Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. After Eric left, Dave Nevling (formerly with Bert Wills) joined the band bringing his club-tested blues harp and an extra vocal dimension to their sound. After a short time, enough original music was compiled, Mark took his band to the Light In Sound Studio in Pearland and recorded a demo tape called You Can Call On the Blues. Copies of the cassette were shopped around to various labels and in a matter of weeks, Johnny Phillips, of Icehouse/Priority Records responded and picked up the band. After some minor remixing at Crosstown Records in Memphis, Call on the Blues was released on CD. Since the release of the CD, Dave Nevling and Danny Goza moved on to be replaced by Greg Grubbs (drums), and Billy Wells (guitar). With the addition of Billy, the band took on a harder edge. Then Mark recorded his second CD with Icehouse Records. Telephone Road-Houston, Texas was released early summer 1997. On the Cd with the band are Larry McCray, Alan Haynes, The Memphis Horns, and the return of Eric Dimmer(sax). Mark May & the Agitators announce that after a successful year touring and recording with the Dickey Betts Band, Mark has opted to focus his career on Mark May & the Agitators. Original Agitator guitarist Kirk McKim has also rejoined the band. According to Mark, "I want to offer special thanks to Dickey Betts for the opportunity to play together and learn from him, as well as his help getting my career started. Rita and I also want to thank Donna Betts for everything. She’s a very gracious lady." Mark wishes all the best to one of his good friends & mentors, “Dangerous” Dan Toler, who is joining the Dickey Betts Band. “I hope Dan has as much fun and enrichment playing with Dickey, David Stoltz, Mark Greenberg, Matt Zeiner, Kris Jensen and Frankie Lombardi as I did. They are cream of the crop musicians.” He also extends thanks to Bud Snyder, Tanner, Race Car, Bill Hardaway, and Carlos Rodriguez; “We are friends and family always!” Mark May & the Agitators – Mark May, guitar, vocals; Kirk McKim, guitar, vocals; Dan Cooper, bass; and Greg Grubbs, drums - will release a new CD and tour in 2002. The CD includes “Place Your Betts”, a tribute to Dickey, as well as Dickey Betts playing funk and blues on 2 tracks. Thanks to all the fans for their support. Hope to see you out at a Mark May & the Agitators show! If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! - ”LIKE”